An update on Version One’s thesis: backing mission-driven founders


This post is by Angela from Version One

Technology changes. The startup market evolves, and so do we as VCs. Over the past few months, we’ve reflected on our journey over the past decade, who we are and what we invest in. We’ve quietly made changes to our website. And here’s the official unveiling, with a quick synopsis of our new messaging and the thinking behind it. 

“Backing the next generation of mission-driven founders”

We raised our first fund in summer 2012. At that time, Version One was a generalist firm, investing in consumer Internet, e-commerce, SaaS and mobile companies. By 2016, we had begun to specialize into a thesis-driven firm, focusing on businesses with potentially large network effects built around people and/or data. 

Fast forward to today. We still think that network effects are incredibly valuable. However, most businesses are looking for network effects, so they are less of a differentiator than they were a decade ago. At the same time, we realize that our interests have been broad over the years: marketplaces and SaaS continue to be core interest areas, but we are also spending a lot of time in crypto, healthcare and climate, and always pushing ourselves to look at the edge of technological innovation. 

But ultimately, as our interests change, the one constant has been the founder. No matter the vertical, geography, business model, macro or micro trends, entrepreneurs form the nucleus of a generational company. And that’s why the founding team is the most important factor in our investment decision-making.

You’ll note the description “mission-driven founders.” To us, these are entrepreneurs who will stop at nothing to solve a deep pain point that they know well. It’s this passion, even obsession, that can inspire, create, and lead strong teams through the ups and downs of building an iconic technology business. 

Amazing, mission-driven founders are found throughout our portfolio. For example, there’s Pree Walia of Preemadonna with her mission to power creative expression in beauty. And, Mike Murchison and David Hariri of Ada Support, whose mission is to deliver customer service in a way that’s authentic and simple but also efficient and scalable. Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam of Coinbase are driven to create an open financial system for the world. Laura Behrens Wu and Simon Kreuz of Shippo want to power every e-commerce merchant (big and small) with professional-grade shipping and deep discounts from top carriers. And our list goes on…

Here at Version One, we have never been consensus-driven or fast followers. We develop our own conviction and are not afraid to lead or invest when others do not. We like the non-obvious. But most importantly, we believe in our founders’ ability to positively impact the world.

Announcing the Version One Opportunity Fund


This post is curated by Keith Teare. It was written by boris. The original is [linked here]

It has been almost 10 years since Union Square Ventures launched the first Opportunity Fund, creating a strategy that has since been copied by many other VC’s. An opportunity fund is basically a separate pool of capital that allows a VC to continue to invest in its most promising portfolio companies once the core funds have exhausted their follow-on reserves. This puts the VC firm and its investors in a position to continue to exercise their pro-rata rights in later-stage rounds instead of giving them up. 

Besides doubling and tripling down on existing portfolio companies, opportunity funds sometimes have the mandate to be able to invest in later-stage companies outside of the existing portfolio…companies that the VC missed in earlier rounds of financing but are squarely in their investment focus.

We at Version One have long been thinking about an Opportunity Fund for our firm, but only recently decided that we should actually pursue this strategy. I am hence very happy to announce the Version One Ventures Opportunity Fund I with CAD $25m in commitments. The mandate of the fund is to invest in the most successful companies from Fund I (2012 vintage) and Fund II (2014 vintage).

What changed our mind to pursue an Opportunity Fund? Three factors are at play: 

Announcing the Version One Opportunity Fund


This post is by boris from Version One

It has been almost 10 years since Union Square Ventures launched the first Opportunity Fund, creating a strategy that has since been copied by many other VC’s. An opportunity fund is basically a separate pool of capital that allows a VC to continue to invest in its most promising portfolio companies once the core funds have exhausted their follow-on reserves. This puts the VC firm and its investors in a position to continue to exercise their pro-rata rights in later-stage rounds instead of giving them up. 

Besides doubling and tripling down on existing portfolio companies, opportunity funds sometimes have the mandate to be able to invest in later-stage companies outside of the existing portfolio…companies that the VC missed in earlier rounds of financing but are squarely in their investment focus.

We at Version One have long been thinking about an Opportunity Fund for our firm, but only recently decided that we should actually pursue this strategy. I am hence very happy to announce the Version One Ventures Opportunity Fund I with CAD $25m in commitments. The mandate of the fund is to invest in the most successful companies from Fund I (2012 vintage) and Fund II (2014 vintage).

What changed our mind to pursue an Opportunity Fund? Three factors are at play: 

Recapping Q4 2019

Happy New Year! Here at Version One, we are very excited for 2020, but before we kick off a new year, we want to recap some of the highlights from last quarter. Q4 2019 was a busy quarter for us, and here’s some select news on the Version One family.  Let’s ride the momentum into 2020!

Fundraises and accolades

We announced our investment in Scanwell Health, which closed a $3.5M seed round. They provide accessible, at-home testing for everyone – starting with at-home testing for urinary tract infections.

We also announced our participation in Nexus Mutual, an Ethereum-based insurance mutual, that can create an alternative risk sharing platform and bring insurance back to the people. If you missed it, you can read our announcement here.

Congratulations to Manny Medina and everyone at Outreach, which was named the Fourth Fastest Growing Company in North America on Continue reading “Recapping Q4 2019”